Networking Tips


The A Team Builds Their Team

By: BNI Staff
  • Category

    Networking Tips

  • Author

    BNI Staff

  • Post Date

Submitted by Sara Minnis, BNI Fast Track, del Fuego Companies

The A Team in Tacoma, WA completed the BNI Fast Track Chapter Development Program earlier this year. They had a new President, Rick McCabe, who had listened to a Fast Track Friday call, and became interested in having his chapter learn together. He wanted them to become even better at networking.

Melody Williams, one of the founding members of the chapter, had the same focus. She had been with The A Team since they met in their start-up phase in a coffee shop.

When we spotlight chapters, we always choose something special about that chapter in particular, from which we believe other chapters can learn and benefit.  With The A Team, one of the great choices they made was to really focus on revenue and referral goals. Getting those goals in place for each member is so important and can be very powerful for members! This chapter did such an excellent job in this area, and we want to share their approach with you.

When we were discussing this with The A Team on our Fast Track Friday call with them, Melody said, “I had heard that chapters don’t want to talk about money, and I thought — but that’s why we’re here! — why wouldn’t we share?”

Now, Melody came from the high-end corporate banking world, and while she was learning about networking, she was already comfortable talking about MONEY. She was surprised that other people might not be, and instinctively knew that it would be important for her chapter to change that.

When a group does Fast Track, one of the first things they do is complete an easy formula so that each member can determine the revenue they want to receive from their BNI efforts. Then we take it a step further and have them calculate the number of referrals it will take to achieve that revenue goal. When members look at the numbers in this way, they begin to understand the activity that will be necessary to achieve their goal and feel successful. For most members, this is the first time they’ve had a realistic idea of potential revenue to expect from BNI. Plus, they get a clearer picture of the time frame it will take to achieve it.

Deeper into Fast Track, we start to drill down into the actual activities and behaviors that affect these numbers. Members start to understand what they can do in their chapter, and in their referral relationships, in order to achieve their goals faster. Some members even have to UP their goals because they set them too low in the first place. Other members find ways to tweak their Target Market so they need less referrals to achieve their goals. With all this going on in Fast Track chapters, you can understand why some members have called the program “a home run”!

Now, we always tell chapters to SHARE their revenue and referral goals once they are set. But The A Team took this a strong step further. They actually put out tent cards for every member with their name, profession, and revenue and referrals goals. They put those tents out at every meeting, and kept the focus front-of-mind. As Melody said on our call, “It was open and full disclosure — what you want, why you are here, and how you are doing.”

Some of you might be thinking, “Yikes! How did THAT work out?” And, here’s the interesting thing that this chapter learned, which is important for you to know. The A Team discovered that they had done such a good job setting the expectations, that their members actually weren’t nervous stating their goals in terms of revenue expected and the referrals it would take. They were all in it together, and they were committed to the experience as a TEAM. Setting the bar with clear, shared expectations helped everyone understand and participate.

It is true for so many of us that we are “funny” talking about money. It brings up a lot of unpleasant feelings and discomfort. You can learn more about that on this Fast Track Friday Call, including what you can do about changing that for yourself and for your chapter. After all, your chapter is essentially your sales team, and how many successful sales teams do you think are out there that aren’t talking about money? And guess what… it’s actually easier than you might think!

For just a moment, imagine how visitors feel when the visit The A Team, and see a business team focused on creating money and referrals in such an open atmosphere. Hint: it’s empowering & exciting… and makes them want to join!

We know from working with hundreds of chapters over the years that this kind of transparency is really what builds a team. And, perhaps an even bigger insight is that chapters who are comfortable talking about money make more money.

So, think about MONEY TALK in your chapter. Does it happen? Would you like more? Click here to listen to our call about this, and click here to read about it on our blog.

Congratulations to The A Team! We’re so grateful they shared their Fast Track story with us, and with BNI members everywhere. Click here for more resources about BNI Fast Track, and what it can do for your chapter. We’d love to one day share your story as well!